City jumps gun at Nanaimo

A chained-off private patio space in Penticton's Nanaimo Square that sprung up in recent weeks was put in place by the city before the business whose name is on the signs had even applied for a permit. 

The signs hanging from the chains read "Licensed patio space, Petrasek Bakery customers only." But bakery owner Jan Petrasek said he has not applied to the city to use the area. 

Anthony Haddad, director of development services for the City of Penticton, confirmed the city had put up the blockades in anticipation of an application from the bakery. 

"We were under the understanding that the application was coming in fairly quickly and we will be following up with the business on Monday, and if they're not interested in using the space then the sign and the chains come down pretty simply," Haddad said. "So ultimately if the business wants to use it it's there."

When asked whether it was standard practice to go ahead with installing city infrastructure and signage before an application had actually been made and approved, Haddad said he could not point to another instance in the city where this had been done. 

He said they used basic infrastructure that is easy to remove if need be. When asked about the city man hours and money that went toward this, he said it was a "relatively simple installation," and that they can easily be removed. 

If the business does not choose to pursue the permit for patio use, those man hours will double as they take down the barriers. 

Haddad confirmed that the sign in place right now indicating the space is for "Petrasek Bakery customers only" is untrue, as no actual private use permits are in place.

He denied the chains had anything to do with the recent 5-2 council vote in favour of a sitting and lying down ban in the downtown core aimed at dealing with vagrancy issues.

"It's been an ongoing discussion for the last little while," he said. 

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